With the month of May officially in the books, it is time to look at the most surprising teams in baseball. While some teams like the Yankees, Dodgers and Mets are off to incendiary starts; most predicted that they would be competing for their divisions. Meanwhile, no one is surprised to see Colorado, Oakland and Washington in the basements of their divisions. Instead, this list will focus on the most surprising teams in baseball.
Last time we checked, the Red Sox and Tigers were struggling while the Angels and Twins were cruising. Now, it’s time to see where things stand as we approach the summer.
The New Minnesota Miracle
The first team on the list, for the second straight month, is the team that finished in last place in the AL Central last season, the Minnesota Twins. Led by AL Rookie of the Year contender Joe Ryan, pricey off-season addition Carlos Correa and a breakout year from Luis Arraez, the Twins find themselves at the top of the AL Central.
With Byron Buxton and Max Kepler finally healthy, the Twins might be placing themselves in position to run away with the division over the summer. If they do, look for Rocco Baldelli to see his name associated with most Manager of the Year lists.
The Phlailing Phillies
While the Twins have been a delight this season, the Phillies have not. Despite the offseason additions of sluggers Nicholas Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber and relievers Corey Knebel, Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia, the team finds themselves over 10 games behind the Mets. Perhaps what makes the Phillies one of the most surprising teams in MLB is the commitment to retooling instead of rebuilding.
With Bryce Harper battling a small UCL tear, Schwarber on the wrong side of the Mendoza line and the bullpen continuing to struggle the Phillies have a difficult path to the playoffs ahead of them. Perhaps, firing Joe Girardi is the spark the team needed.
Sadness in Seattle
Last year, it seemed like everything was going right for the Mariners. The team quickly became “America’s team” and was a joy to watch. Despite just missing the playoffs, the Front Office clearly liked the team’s direction and brought in reigning AL Cy Young Robbie Ray, Adam Frazier and Reds’ sluggers Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker with the hopes of ending North America’s longest playoff drought.
Instead, the Mariners have been one of the most surprising teams as they have the third fewest wins in the American League and are over 10 games back of the Houston Astros in the division. Ray has crashed back down to earth while Frazier, Suarez and Winker have all struggled.
The team will need to start stringing together wins soon or they will be looking at 21 straight seasons without October baseball.
Exciting Season in San Diego
Last year, the Padres were perhaps one of the most disappointing teams in baseball, as their star studded roster missed out on October baseball. With a difficult division, managerial change and a fractured wrist to star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., some questioned if the Padres could keep up with the Dodgers and Giants.
Fortunately for the Friars, new manager Bob Melvin appears to be pressing all the right buttons. Led by star Manny Machado and an undefeated Joe Musgrove, the Padres find themselves in the thick of the NL West race and hold the top spot in the NL Wild Card.
Detroit Looks Down and Out
While things have been heavenly for the Angels, the same can’t be said about the Tigers. Despite adding Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez in free agency and promoting Spencer Torkelson, the number one overall pick in the 2020 draft, the Tigers have simply been a disaster this season.
Two-thirds of their opening day lineup, led by Baez, are currently hitting below .200. Meanwhile, the team expected other top prospect Riley Greene to slot into the outfield on Opening Day. Instead, the team eagerly awaits his return from a foot injury that delayed his MLB debut.
While the season is more than well underway, there is still plenty of time left for the fortunes of these teams to change. Maybe Philly finds a way to make a playoff push? Perhaps the Twins bats go cold? Maybe Seattle isn’t cursed and just inconsistent? Let us know which has been the most surprising team in 2022 in the comments below!
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